Two Data Points On My Recent Application With American Express – Max 5 Lending Cards Rule and No Hard Inquiry

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I applied for the American Express Hilton Honors Business Card when the new sign-up bonus came out yesterday.  Although the annual fee $95 is not waived for the first year, the welcome bonus is quite attractive: Earn a Free Weekend Night + 130,000 Bonus Points. Offer ends 08/28/2019.

Living this points life, I obviously have more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months and that makes me ineligible for Chase credit cards. However, it is known that business credit cards with the exception of the Capital One are not reported to your personal credit report that Chase looks at to deny your Chase application if you have 5 or more cards with any banks in the past 2 years. With that in mind, I have been picking up business credit cards instead as not to miss any opportunity to earn a good welcome bonuses along the way.

Best Hilton Hotels To Use Amex Hilton Card Free Weekend Night Certificate
Use the Free Night Certificate at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton
Photo Credit: Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton

Amex Max 5 Lending Cards Rule

My application for the Amex Hilton Honors Business Card went to pending for review. I called the reconsideration line 866-314-0237 afterwards. Believe it or not, it was my first time calling Amex reconsideration line. I did not realize the line has a few automated process that one has to go through before starting to talk to a live agent comparing to other banks. Remember to say the “status” option and follow the prompt until you get to talk to someone.

Long story short, just like what I expected. The reason my application went to pending is because of the American Express’s well known maximum 5 lending cards rule. If you already have 5 lending cards (personal and business credit cards) with American Express, you cannot have the 6th card unless you close one of your existing cards first. That’s what I had to do by agreeing to close one of my least beneficial credit cards to push my Hilton business card’s application for approval. The process is instant and a few minutes later I received an approval email from American Express.

It’s worth noting that, this maximum 5 lending cards rule does not apply to charged cards. Currently, the American Express Business Platinum card is offering an opportunity to earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points. $595 annual fee. Offer ends 09/25/2019. The offer is only available via referral. The American Express Business Platinum card is a charged card and therefore it is not subjected to the maximum 5 lending cards rule.

No Hard Inquiry For Existing Amex Cardholders

Honestly, American Express is one of my favorites when it comes to applying for their credit cards. The reason is pretty simple, they are very lenient when it comes to credit inquiries. First they are not too sensitive about inquiries on your credit report like Barclay is, and secondly if you have been with American Express for quite some time, American Express does not do a hard pull on your credit and thus your credit report does not show additional hard inquiry. What kind of algorithm they use to determine that, I have no idea. But of course, if they feel like they need to do a hard pull on your credit, they have 100% right to do so when you lodge an application with them. Based on my experience, it is a rare circumstance though. My previous application with American Express for the Aspire card was September 2018 and I did not see a single hard inquiry with Amex either.


I love American Express credit cards. It’s unfortunate that they have the maximum 5 lending cards rule, but with the exception of their charged cards. American Express is also pretty lenient when it comes to credit inquiries. Unlike other banks, American Express only does soft pull on credit when an existing Amex cardholder applies for a new credit card.

I am excited for the new Hilton Business credit card. The free weekend night is going to be so valuable that’s worth much more than $95 annual fee for my next trip. The Grand Wailea in Maui remains one of the best uses for the free night certificate in USA. Below are some good uses:

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